Nkhasi and Desta set new Absa RUN YOUR CITY JOBURG 10K Course Records

Mary Fitzgerald Square Newtown by Tobias Ginsberg
Mary Fitzgerald Square Newtown by Tobias Ginsberg

Lesotho’s Namakoe Nkhasi and Ethiopia’s Debash Desta emerged triumphant at the 2023 Absa RUN YOUR CITY JOBURG 10K and in the process obliterated the previous course records when they crossed the finish line at the Mary Fitzgerald Square, Newtown (Johannesburg) on Sunday 24 September (National Heritage Day) in 29 minutes 07 seconds and 33 minutes 03 seconds respectively.


Nkhasi, a previous winner here in 2016, took 35 seconds off the previous course record set by South Africa’s Nicholas Seoposengwe (29:42) in 2022, while Desta’s 33:03 is 47 seconds quicker than the previous course record of 33:50 that was set by Emmaculate Achol (Kenya) in 2022.


After a slow start, the men’s lead pack went through 4km on the M2 Highway in 12:32, the tempo started to increase as Mathews Leeto moved to the front and started accelerating, taking with him South Africa’s three time SA Champion in the 1500m, Nkosinathi Sibiya, in-form Kabelo Mulaudzi, Collen Mulaudzi, Melikhaya Frans, Edward Mothibi and Tete Dijana amongst others. Mathews continued to drive the pace and as the athletes came off the Highway the pack had strung out with only Lesotho’s Nkhasi, Mulaudzi and Mathews in contention.

After winning three 10km races from three starts in three weeks, including the inaugural Absa RUN YOUR CITY TSHWANE 10K (held in August this year) and the SA Cross Country Title, as well as the Absa RUN YOUR CITY DURBAN 10K in July where he broke 28 min (27:56), Mulaudzi was the inform man with a bull’s eye on his back. True to form the 25-year-old Boxer athlete took control of the race after 8km (24:34).

Nkhasi and Desta set new Absa RUN YOUR CITY JOBURG 10K Course Records
Nkhasi and Desta set new Absa RUN YOUR CITY JOBURG 10K Course Records

But the hard racing of the last three weeks had taken its toll, and he was slowly reeled in by Namakoe Nkhasi. The 29-year-old Lesotho National Record Holder opened the throttle after 9km and spurted away from a fading Mulaudzi. Flying down the long finish straight, Nkhasi was unstoppable, taking line honours in 29:07, and dragging the first six athletes under 30 minutes. Kabelo Mulaudzi had to dig deep to hold off a fast-finishing Mathews Leeto (29:26 – 29:29) for second.


“I am very happy with the win today,” said Nkhasi. “I was off with injury from July, and this is really good for me. I feel I am getting back to my best.”


In the women’s race Ethiopians Debash Desta and Selam Gebre matched each other stride for stride. It was only in the final kilometer that Desta was able to edge away to win in 33:03. Gebre a mere 7 seconds behind, with a resurgent Irvette van Zyl taking her first podium of a year that has been marred by injury, finishing 3rd.


This is Desta’s second win the Absa RUN YOUR CITYU Series in 2023, after equaling her PB of 32:14 in winning the Absa RUN YOUR CITY TSHWANE 10K on 27 August.


“We would like to extend a heartfelt congratulations to Namakoe Nkhasi and Debash Desta, both of whom delivered awe-inspiring performances at the Absa RUN YOUR CITY JOBURG 10K today. You’ve not only provided an exceptional conclusion to the 2023 series but also set the bar incredibly high for elite road running,” praised Michael Meyer, Managing Director of Stillwater Sports and Founder of the Absa RUN YOUR CITY Series. “We’re immensely grateful for the unwavering support of our dedicated community of elite and social runners and the invaluable contributions from our esteemed sponsors who make this series possible. It’s been a journey filled with memorable moments, fierce competition, and the spirit of unity through running. We’re already looking forward to what the 2024 season holds for the Absa RUN YOUR CITY Series.”


Absa’s Group Chief Marketing and Corporate Affairs Officer, Sydney Mbhele, said, “Congratulations to all the participants and winners of the Absa RUN YOUR CITY JOBURG 10K race and those who joined Team Absa Walk Run on Strava. Your dedication to running and your contribution to the charities that we support is inspiring”.


“Today was incredible as thousands of people came out in numbers to paint the city of gold red again. What a beautiful way to end the Absa RUN YOUR CITY 2023 series by exploring Joburg’s iconic landmarks. We are grateful for the support of this event, which helped us to raise much-needed funds for organisations that are making a difference in the lives of people in Joburg. We’ve all contributed to making our city a better place for everyone. Together we can do more, Siyabangena!”


CHARITY SUPPORT: When entering the Absa RUN YOUR CITY JOBURG 10K online entrants could choose to support four local charities:  1. Reach For A Dream Foundation (RFAD), 2. Cotlands, 3. Johannesburg SPCA and 4. Johannesburg Heritage Foundation.


PRIZE PURSE: The Absa RUN YOUR CITY Series boasted an impressive, combined Prize Purse of R 1 560 000.00 in 2023. Each of the five events were assigned R312 000.00 in prize money of which R252 000.00 was allocated towards the Open Category (R126 000.00 going to Top 10 Open Men’s and R126 000.00 to Top 10 Open Women’s), and R60 000 towards Age Categories (Junior, 40 – 49, 50 – 59, 60 – 69 and 70+ Age Categories). To view the prize purse breakdown please visit https://runyourcityseries.com/


WIN A CHERY TIGGO 4 PRO URBAN VEHICLE: Marcia Snyman was the lucky entrant to go home as the winner of a stylish Chery Tiggo 4 Pro Urban Vehicle valued at over R308 900.00 compliments of the Absa RUN YOUR CITY Series and event partners Chery South Africa and Absa Vehicle and Asset Finance. To be in the running to win this fantastic prize the following three boxes needed to be ticked: you needed to enter the event (and pay the entry fee), collect your race number (during the stipulated race pack collection times) and be on the start line on event day.


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Websites:  www.runyourcityseries.com